PHONE FETISH: Is luxury dead? Not according to Nokia. Word has it that the communications giant has a new subsidiary, Vertu, that will produce the ultimate in indulgent gadgetry. Sources say the company’s new product will be the Patek Phillippe of cell phones — in other words, one that could come with a four-figure or higher price tag. While details are still being finalized, the phone’s materials — and service — will have a decidedly haute feel. As for where and when to launch such a tony delight — why, the City of Light during couture, of course. Vertu is planning an artsy fete at the Musee d’Arte Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
MASTHEAD MOVES: Andrea Rosengarten has been named editor of Jane. But Jane Pratt isn’t going anywhere, despite market reports to the contrary. She remains editor in chief of the title, and Rosengarten reports to her.
Most recently, Rosengarten served as executive editor/managing editor of Jane, having joined the publication at its inception in 1997. She’ll continue as managing editor. Meanwhile, the old guard continues to leave Harper’s Bazaar. Melissa Ceria, fashion writer at the magazine for the past 2 1/2 years, resigned Thursday to pursue a freelance career and spend more time with her young son. “I want to branch out and write about different subjects,” she said. Earlier, Ceria was Eye editor at Women’s Wear Daily.
SLAM DUNK? Move over, Oprah. Michael Jordan will have his own magazine. A new lifestyle magazine called Jordan will be published jointly by Nike Inc. and Hearst Custom Publishing. The editor is Selwyn Hines, formerly of The Source. The magazine, which will carry ads from a variety of advertisers, will be geared to the 16-to-21-year-old male and will focus on urban culture, music, sports and fashion. Jordan plans to write a letter in every issue.The magazine will be unveiled in Philadelphia during the NBA All-Star Weekend Feb. 8-10 and will debut on newsstands across the country on Feb. 12. Some 300,000 copies are being printed.
The premiere issue will contain 116 pages and will have an initial print run of 300,000 copies. A second issue is planned for July 2002, and four issues will be published in 2003. The cover price is $3.50.
CROSS JOINS BURBERRY: John Cross has joined Burberry as director of public relations (U.S.), a new post. Most recently, he was public relations manager at Prada in New York and previously worked for the Gap and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Cross, who is based in New York, will be responsible for Burberry press relations in the U.S. Burberry will continue to work with Harriet Weintraub, who will be the external p.r. agency for special projects and events. Cross reports to Eugenia Ulasewicz, president of Burberry USA, and Sarah Manley, director of public relations (worldwide), who is based in London.
DIFFICULT DECEMBER: Publishers have been singing the blues for good reason. December’s final tally is out, and it proved to be a tough month across the board for all ad categories. The apparel-accessories and toiletries-cosmetics categories were particularly hard hit.
Apparel and accessories ad pages plunged 19.1 percent to 2,190.6 in December, while toiletries and cosmetics ad pages declined 23.8 percent to 1,184, according to Publishers Information Bureau.
For the year, apparel and accessories ad pages dropped 5.8 percent to 25,042.5. But it wasn’t all bad news: The toiletries and cosmetics category finished the year up 6.1 percent in ad pages to 16,695.8.